I had a realization today after listening to some Bruce Springsteen. His lyrics always make me think.
At some point I am responsible for my own unhappiness.
I am generally very understanding and sympathetic, at least to others. This post isn’t directed at anyone that has mental health issues. And I’m not saying “stop being unhappy and start being happy.” Because I know it isn’t that easy.
I have spent many years being unhappy. We all know someone that is always miserable. But I am never stuck. Some things may be hard to change. And maybe I feel so entrenched that there doesn’t seem to be a way out. But there is always a way out.
If I don’t like my job; I can get a new one. If I don’t like my friends; I can replace them with ones I do like. If I am unhappy with my romantic relationship; I can end it. If I am not happy with my body; I can do something about it.
No matter how bad things have been in my past, and even in my recent past, all of that stuff IS in my past. It’s over now. The older I become, the further away it gets from me.
People have told me to “just get over it.” Sometimes flippantly, sometimes dismissively. And hearing that isn’t actually helpful. And yet. I do need to get over it. I do need to let it go.
I keep dating the same types of men over and over. And I can’t help but think that it’s because I wasn’t ready to let go of my past. Maybe I wasn’t ready to stop being abused. Maybe I wasn’t ready to be in a loving relationship.
Maybe because I had internalized my parents’ abuse and thought I deserved it. Maybe because I didn’t realize that better existed, let alone that I deserved better. It doesn’t really matter why I wasn’t ready.
But I know that I can’t keep carrying these people around with me. I have to let them go. I have to stop hanging on to my past. I have to stop hanging on to my hurt. And my unhappiness.
I’m no longer the powerless child I was growing up. I long ago stopped being the shy, insecure adult I was (I’ve stopped most of the time anyway). I’m not the victim of domestic violence anymore.
My life is my own. I don’t want to spend the rest of it talking about, thinking about, and working out, my past.
I want my past to stay where it is. I want to be over it and done. It’s always going to be a part of who I am. But I don’t want it to define who I am anymore.